Explore a simpler, gentler world with a visit to the Hancock Shaker Village living history museum in Pittsfield, MA, only 20 minutes from our Berkshires bed and breakfast, The Inn at Stockbridge.
Shakers arrived in America from Europe in 1774 with the plan of establishing a communal, utopian society based on the concepts of purity, pacifism, tolerance, and both racial and gender equality. Though their communities were initially successful, one of their other practices – celibacy – led to their sect’s inevitable decline.
Hancock was the third Shaker village to be established in America, dating back to 1774. The population at Hancock had reduced so much by the late 1950’s, they could no longer maintain the land. Rather than see it disappear into the mists of time, they they sold it to a group dedicated to its preservation.
The village reopened in 1961 as the largest Shaker museum on the east coast.
Visiting Hancock Shaker Village
Hancock Village is a testament to the Shaker ethos of beautiful simplicity and hard work. Visitors will be entranced by the village’s 20 historic buildings and extensive gardens. The iconic, round stone barn on the property is an architectural gem – the only Shaker barn of its kind.
Other buildings in the village include a School House, Ice House, Meetinghouse, and a 1910 Barn Complex.
A tour around the village reveals the daily life of the Shakers through a host of different rooms and work spaces. You’ll see genuine Shaker spinning wheels, tools, furniture, butter churns, crafts, medical equipment, and more.
Hancock Shaker Village is also still a working farm. Visitors will see gardens of heirloom herbs and vegetables, as well as a variety of heritage livestock. Shaker craft demonstrations are another highlight of the tours.
The village includes a Shaker Mercantile for handmade and artisanal goods and Seeds Market Cafe for indoor and outdoor dining. Visitors can also enjoy exploring the many hiking trails on the property, many of which pass abandoned Shaker building sites.
Hancock Shaker Village is located at 1843 West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield, MA.
The Village is open seasonally, from mid-April through late October, with a variety of off-season tours and special event, typically based around the holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Learn more with a visit to the village’s website or Facebook page.
Spend the day exploring Hancock Shaker Village, then return to your comfy, Berkshires home away from home at The Inn at Stockbridge. We even have a simple and clean Shaker themed Suite with a 4-post king bed, fireplace, and more. Book your stay at The Inn at Stockbridge today!